U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Pennsylvania Healthcare Provider Paying $39,704 in Back Wages, Damages to 92 Employees
LIGONIER, PA - After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Bethlen Home of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America – a continuing care retirement community based in Ligonier, Pennsylvania – paid $39,704 in back wages and liquidated damages to 92 employees for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The recovery comes after the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania entered a consent judgement, which in addition to requiring the payment of back wages and damages, permanently enjoins the employer from future violations of FLSA overtime and recordkeeping provisions.
WHD investigators found Bethlen Home of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America - doing business as Bethlen Communities Inc. - violated FLSA overtime and recordkeeping requirements at its Pennsylvania facilities, which consist of three divisions: Bethlen Home-Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Bethlen Communities Home Health and Hospice Service, and Ligonier Gardens Personal Care & Retirement Center. Specifically, WHD found that the employer failed to include workers' shift bonuses when calculating their overtime rates. Excluding these amounts from the calculation resulted in the employer paying overtime rates lower than those required by law. The employer also failed to maintain records of employee bonuses and hourly rates.
"The judgment in this case underscores the Wage and Hour Division's commitment to ensuring that employees receive all the wages they have rightfully earned," said Wage and Hour District Director John DuMont, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "Our work also levels the playing field for employers who obey the law."
The FLSA requires that covered, non-exempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records. For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd. Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program.